Experienced and Successful Ottawa Landlords Know Tenant Screening Is a Priority
Experienced and successful Ottawa landlords know the importance of ‘getting to know’ potential tenants before renting to them.
They make tenant screening a priority for you.
Make sure you research your prospective tenants in a professional and legal way. This includes credit checks from a legal registered tenant credit check provider such as Equifax, TVS, and GARDA.
New Tenants Cause a Fire
A story at The Times is a real wake up call for small residential landlords.
There was a large file early August at an Ottawa rental property duplex.
New tenants moved in on the Friday.
The next day one of the tenants left her space heater on in the washroom while she and her boyfriend went out. The heater set the rental unit on fire as it ignited the shower curtains in the washroom.
The fire was devastating
Tenants in the other half of the duplex smelled smoke and could see the flames and called 911. Firefighters arrived and fortunately the fire was put out. But not without sad and expensive damages.
The Fire Chief said the damages were at least $35,000.
And three family pets (a cat, a terrier, and pitbull) were burned alive because they were kept in cages and did not have any chance of escape. The neighbouring tenants were also in shock at how close they came to facing a disaster.
The landlord said these tenants moved in on a Friday, started the fire on a Saturday and had moved on by Monday to live with friends.
That’s right, a 4 day tenancy caused this much destruction!
How Could Tenant Screening Help?
Let’s face it: tragic accidents happen.
However, as a landlord you can decrease your chances of accidents by careful tenant screening, including tenant credit checks. In other provinces, running tenant credit checks is becoming a common component of tenant screening.
BC landlords regularly include them before handing over the keys to their rental property.
How Can A Tenant Credit Check Help Ottawa Landlords?
Let’s take a look at how tenant screening including tenant credit checks can help Ottawa landlords avoid bad tenants.
1. Past landlords
A tenant credit check will show you the address of former properties the tenants have lived at.
This is an incredible resource for landlords!
Why? Because it allows you to talk to former landlords directly. And we mean real former landlords, as some tenants will get a friend or buddy to act as their landlord and give you fake information.
2. Real Information On How They Treated Their Past Rental Property
When you talk to former landlords you can learn how the tenants acted when they were there.
For example, where they careful how they treated the property? Did they pay the rent on time? Were they concerned about fire safety including making sure smoke alarms worked and shut down space heaters when they left the property?
One landlord asked on the Ontario Landlords Association forum why they would need to leave a space heater on in the middle of summer and wondered if it was for drying “some pot.”
We don’t know. But what we do know is you can learn a lot by talking to former landlords. And with a tenant credit check you can find the ‘real’ former landlords and where they live and go talk to them.
3. Tenant Insurance
Financially responsible tenants will get tenant insurance.
This means if there are fires or floods their contents get insured and landlords are protected.
4. Financial Responsibility
A tenant credit check will show you if tenants pay their bills on time and are responsible when signing contracts and leases.
Responsible tenants don’t “just leave” when problems arise. A high credit score requires being mature and careful and fulfilling your obligations.
Ottawa Landlords – Make Tenant Screening A Priority
Bad things can happen to anyone. You can use tenant credit checks to help minimize your risk by making sure you rent to responsible and careful tenants.
You can run premium credit checks for only $10 / check by joining the Ontario Landlords Association for a low one-time registration fee.
You get access to premium credit checks, a private members forum, and the Ontario Landlord Rental Kit full of premium leases, applications and other important documents.